Autologous breast reconstruction with microsurgical free tissue transfer has become routine, and perforator-based adipocutaneous flaps are recognized as an excellent option for many patients. Current efforts to optimize patient outcomes focus on minimizing operative morbidity both at the donor and recipient sites. The DIEAP flap avoids most of the abdominal wall morbidity associated with the TRAM. At the recipient site, however, partial rib resection, for access to the internal mammary (IM) artery and vein as recipient vessels, has a risk of chest wall pain, deformity, and pneumothorax. Perhaps more importantly, sacrifice of the IM vessels precludes their use for potential future coronary revascularization. To avoid this, the intercostal perforating branches from the internal mammary system may be used as recipient vessels for microanastomosis. This has been well described using suture technique, although the use of a mechanical coupling device for arterial anastomosis to the perforator has not been reported. We report nine cases whereby a mechanical coupling device was used to perform both the arterial and venous anastomoses of DIEAP and SIEA flap pedicles to IM intercostal perforating vessels. Flap ischemia time was shorter in all cases, allowed ease of anastomosis for vessel size mismatch, and is technically easier in deep wounds. This technique is a further refinement to free flap breast reconstruction and is a powerful application of the coupling device.
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